Elizabeth Fournier’s memoir begins as the charming story of a precocious child obsessed with death. It continues to tell the tale of how this little girl grows up to enter the field of mortuary, a career largely dominated by men, and to become one of the first women to solely own a funeral home.
When not working at her repurposed goat barn mortuary, Fournier uses her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism to write a monthly column for the literary magazine, Black Lamb. She has also been published in other magazines, as well as having been featured widely in the national press for her innovative work with green burials. She is fondly known as the “Green Reaper,” the working title of her memoir, now under contract with WiDo Publishing.™
“Elizabeth’s story is fascinating,” states WiDo Publishing™ managing editor Karen Gowen. “It’s not just what she has accomplished, but how, and then to write about it so vividly. We at WiDo love her book. It comprises an amazing journey by a multi-talented woman.”
Besides Fournier’s work at her funeral home, Cornerstone Funerals in Boring, Oregon and being a published author, she is also a voice actor. Fournier currently is voice for the autopsy exhibit in the forensic wing at the United States National Museum of Medicine.
“I could not possibly have dreamed about the fulfillment of my life as a small-town mortician in Oregon,” Fournier says. “My career is a special one which affords me the blessing of being entrusted with dear, loved ones. My journey from live-in cemetery caretaker to Green Reaper has given vitality and purpose to my whole life. I am truly working my ministry and am thankful daily for this gift.”
A green burial is primarily defined by doing less of what is involved in a typical burial. Traditional burials involve loading the body with embalming fluids, placing it in a casket, and interring the body and casket in the ground in a concrete burial vault. An eco-friendly burial can mean skipping the use of embalming fluids and burying the body in a biodegradable shroud or a simple wood coffin that will biodegrade over time.
Where does the name “The Green Reaper” come from? Fournier explains, “I have had the pleasure of assisting people with sustainable burial options. I love helping in this aspect of death. Those who have laid loved ones to rest in this setting have found comfort in knowing the body will return to the earth as the circle of life continues.”
Fournier definitely has plans for another book. “My heart if full of stories I want to share,” she states. “I love the personal expression of framing the colorful way to tell these stories.” Her advice to writers who want a publishing contract, “Read at least one book a week and write at least 1000 words a day.”
Elizabeth Fournier lives in a lovely, rural county in Oregon where residents are allowed to bury loved ones in their own backyards. As the undertaker overseeing five small towns, she has personally buried people in their own backyards. Fournier is known as The Green Reaper, a name she has affectionately been given as the green burial funeral director, educator and advocate who is always ready to lend a hand, or a shovel. Her funeral parlor is in a town named Boring and is anything but. Her mortuary is a remodeled goat barn that sits on 30 acres of country land, filled with old farming equipment and horses. Elizabeth Fournier lives on the land with her husband and baby, and has only a general store/gas station as a neighbor. And the scenic Clackamas River. Learn more about the author at her websites: http://www.elizabethfournier.com/ and http://www.cornerstonefuneral.com/